So many top consumer and business apps use maps extensively. Think about Yelp (local listings and reviews), Zillow (residential real estate), Loopnet (commercial real estate), Waze (navigation), Foursquare (social), Uber (taxi service) and others.
Mostly these companies are using the Google Maps API or the Bing Maps API to draw maps and put “pins” on various locations.
That’s basically it. Two huge providers (Google and Microsoft) are the “default” go-to sources for maps for all startups and tech products. And there’s been little to no innovation here. Maps can be more useful and can be dynamically rendered based on the exact needs of the user (at that moment in time):
- They can be skewed, morphed, and distorted. Think about the iconic Disneyland Map. See this incredible map of Queenstown New Zealand that shows the slope of the streets. See these maps by The Atlantic that visualize the world’s population.While, historically, a cartographer’s life’s work might have been to perfectly map, say, the coastlines of South America, today, for most consumer and business applications, nobody cares. The geography isn’t sacred.
- Information can be hidden or shown. See this Google map for “tacos” in San Francisco. And here it is on Yelp. In both cases, the amount of data being displayed is incredible. And how does it serve the user? Does the user really need to see all of those street names, all of those streets, all of that detail?
- Typography, landmarks, and roads can be promoted or demoted in visual priority. Bigger or smaller. More black or more gray. The actionable data can be brought to the forefront.
Now, all that said, you wouldn’t possibly dare to draw your own maps, from scratch. That would, for most dev groups, be an insane technical challenge and probably a wee bit outside of your company’s core focus and competency (I assume you’re busy tackling some consumer or business application).
Meet our client, MapSense, a killer-team of Computer Scientists, that is just starting to build mapping technology from scratch. Creating beautiful, actionable, user-centered maps.
For the first time ever, because of advances in technology and crowdsourced map data, it has become economically feasible for a modestly funded startup to do so.
Want to re-imagine how Maps serve your users? Contact us (or Mapsense directly) and get early-access to their product and API.